It’s been coming. iPhone apps started with the average consumer, then spread to small businesses, now they’ve hit the corporate level. Several apps are now aimed directly at the people who run computer networks for companies. On top of that, new businesses are springing up to make money from installing and supporting the apps on other companies’ devices…
PocketCloud, an iPhone app from Wyse Technology, a San-Jose based computer company, is one of several in the App Store that are more for IT people than average consumers. Simply, it lets employees access their Windows desktops from an iPhone.
Forgot to run a report, send an email, or backup the hard drive? Run PocketCloud and the phone's screen looks and functions just like the computer at work. If typing is needed, it brings up the iPhone's keyboard. A lot of effort was put into the software's interface so that you can see the cursor next to your finger, read the help bubbles that popup next to links, right-click, and view it in widescreen.
Most iPhone apps average around a $1 or so. PocketCloud is $29.95. Still, it's been downloaded some 10,000 times since it was released a month ago. Jeff McNaught, Wyse's Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer says that's because actual IT folks are snatching it up. They don't mind paying because it's the first time they've had this kind of mobility and it's worth the money, he says. The reviews on iTunes are effusive.
(One reason Wyse charged $29.95 was to keep people from picking it up cheaply to experiment, not becoming able to figure out its proper use, and end up posting a negative review of the software on iTunes.)
So how can it save companies money? Imagine an e-commerce company that makes a million dollar a minute has a server acting up after hours that needs to rebooted... You can see the need for immediacy.
Security is on the company's computer, not the phone, so no one can hack through the iPhone if it gets lost or stolen. Anyway, the newer iPhones have encryption and a "remote wipe" feature that lets owners erase the phone from any computer.
If a company wants something like PocketCloud and lacks the knowledge or bravery to deploy it, it could turn to an outfit like Enterprise Mobile. The Watertown, Mass.-based company has made a business out of installing mobile apps for businesses, integrating them with the old software, and making sure all the kinks get worked out.
What comes next? The Bloomberg Businessweek Innovation and Design blog chronicles new tools for creativity and collaboration, innovation case studies in both the corporate and social sectors, and the new ideas that have the power to change the way things have always been done.